Crazy About You

Rated 5.00/5 based on 8 reviews
Service brats grow up on military bases. Asylum brats grow up on the grounds of mental hospitals where their parents work. Both juveniles and adults will be riveted by the story of high school asylum brat Brad's week in 1964 that tests his sanity and grows him up faster than he ever wished. More

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Words: 59,280
Language: English
ISBN: 9780983776321
About Randy Attwood

I grew up on the grounds of Larned State Hospital, where my father was its dentist. That was interesting. I went to The University of Kansas during the tumultuous 1960s. That was interesting, too. For the first half of my adult career I worked in newspaper journalism. You couldn't call that boring. I won my share of honors, twice winning the award for investigative reporting from the William Allen White School of Journalism at KU. For the second half of my career I was Director of University Relations at The University of Kansas Medical Center. There were some boring times, but the exciting episodes made up for it. I retired at the end of 2010 from The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, where I was its media relations officer. You see, my degree from KU was not in journalism, but in art history. Unfortunately, my father died when I was 21 so I couldn't make him eat his words about that art history degree not being worth anything. I've had stints living in Italy and in Japan.

During all this time I've been putting words on paper, creating fiction. My works don't fit into neat genres, unless that rather new genre "quirky" applies. And each work is quirky in its own way. What that means for me is that in each work is evidence of a deep search within myself. Sometimes it's scary what you find in there.

I'm semi-retired now in Kansas City, keeping busy with a lot of things, among them promoting my fiction and creating new works. That search within yourself never ends.

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Reviews

Review by: Jill Garza on Jan. 05, 2012 : (no rating)
Coming of age in small town America in the mid-60's is not a new theme, but coming of age on a funny farm in small town America is. Attwood's story combines the reality of his experiences as a youth with a vividly imagined and developed fictional story that is at once riotous, nostalgic, and entertaining. This novel will appeal to more than just those of us who grew up in the community Attwood describes. This novel is not "politically correct" with respect to the storyline involving some of the mental patients, but as the sister of a person plagued with long term mental illness, I can tell you that I was not personally offended--just surprised. Fast paced and a page-turner, reads like a movie.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Penny Diloreto on Dec. 15, 2011 :
Brad is an endearing character, wise beyond his years and stronger than he gives himself credit for. As the sparks between him and Suzanne heat up it had me rapidly turning the pages, anxious to find out which Suzanne would Brad end up marrying. Suzanne the popular high school cheerleader or Suzanne the patient of a mental hospital that desperately wants Brad to “heal” her. The story is long enough that it has time to develop characters, relationships and situations the reader can relate to and care about. I liked each character individually Brad, his sister Sally, Gwendolyn, his fathers new girlfriend and really wanted them to end happy. The hopes and fears that each had were very believable and the flirting and sexual interest was not over-the-top and exaggerated.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Mickey Hicks on Sep. 12, 2011 :
With just enough fact and fiction this story was spellbinding for someone who lived in Larned during the time line of this tale. Well written and enthralling. I enjoyed it from start to finish.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: J. Mark Shoup on Sep. 09, 2011 :
If the folks over at the New York Times Review Of Books are looking for fresh novels by other than established writers or well-connected new ones, they should dust off their keyboards and surf over to Smashwords or Amazon's Kindle Book Store, where they'll find an astonishing new novel by Randy Attwood.

Crazy About You is set in the most unlikely of places, in and around a state mental institution in west central Kansas. Attwood's protagonist, a high school student nearing the end of his junior year, is at once naïve and wise beyond his age. These qualities, combined with growing up on the "asylum" where is father works, have created within him a gut-wrenching combination of empathy and Everyman's selfishness that shape him forever and come to a head during one wildly dramatic week when his father and estranged mother are out of town.

Given the protagonist's years, one might dismiss this as a coming-of-age story. It is not. Less a psychological thriller than a psychiatric adventure, the novel fearlessly reveals ways in which human beings face their choices and emotions and those of others -- from loyalty and deceit to cruelty, despair, and joy -- things we all sometimes learn to deal with but never totally control. It is at once gripping, brutal, and tender.

It's not a perfect novel. For some, a dissertation early in the novel on the historical mistreatment of the mentally ill may distract from the narrative. And few short but descriptive sex scenes, a couple of them briefly-described but violent, may upset some readers. This is not a novel for young readers.

Still, Crazy About You defies categorization, but suffice to say that those looking for pure excitement and good story telling will not be disappointed. Nor will those who thrive on the deeper layers of psychological tension. Although the novel often deals with forces out of the protagonist's control, it also tackles tough moral choices that indelibly shape our lives, all within the context of a fantastical drama that will leave the reader musing for days. But ultimately, this is a story about absolution. If you have not laughed out loud often and shed a few tears by the end, you'd better see a shrink.

While Attwood's style and story-telling skills are very much his own, John Irving fans will enjoy this book immensely. New York Times, heads-up!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Katy Sozaeva on Sep. 02, 2011 :
Brad’s father is a dentist at Larned State Hospital – the hospital for the insane – and they live on the grounds of the hospital. Brad also works in the hospital cafeteria, and feels a deep compassion for many of the inpatients. “Crazy About You” details a week in Brad’s life – a crazy week that teaches Brad more about life than he really wanted to know. He learns the mysteries of love, learns the true meaning of fear, and is involved in several murder investigations. Just a typical week in the life of a teenage boy? Hardly. But Attwood’s involving style and wealth of information make this a highly engaging and interesting read, especially for those who, like me, have always had a fascination with insanity.

One of the many things that I found fascinating about this story was how the early 1960s are portrayed – and how very much like the mid 1980s it was; I think being a teenager, exploring life and learning these things, tends to make every generation think they are unique – but what they don’t realize is, that they’re really very much the same.

A coming-of-age novel in the hands of a master storyteller, “Crazy About You” is a book in which anyone should be able to find something to enjoy.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Joan LeMonte on Aug. 23, 2011 :
Riveting, fast paced, heartfelt; Randy Attwood's "Crazy About You" is a brilliant account of a coming of age teen whose caring and courage extends well beyond his years. I literally could not put this book down. "Crazy About You" is a must read for teens and adults alike. I can’t wait for the movie.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Joan LeMonte on Aug. 23, 2011 : (no rating)
Riveting, fast paced, heartfelt; Randy Attwood's "Crazy About You" is a brilliant account of a coming of age teen whose caring and courage extends well beyond his years. I literally could not put this book down. "Crazy About You" is a must read for teens and adults alike. I can’t wait for the movie.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Linda H on July 25, 2011 :
While the very core of this story is simple -- a teenager becoming a man -- the actual story is anything but simple. A high school boy begins to care for a young female inmate at the asylum where his father works. In the nearby town, an older woman is murdered, and an inmate is suspected. The young man's feelings for a high school girl, his friendship with his father's new girlfriend, and a terrifying encounter with an inmate all complicate his life further and lead him to interesting insights into what it means to be an adult.

This book has a lot to recommend it. The plot moves the story along briskly with many surprises. Admittedly, with the location being in or near an asylum, one would expect a few unusual events. The writing is wonderful. The sentences are carefully crafted and have a natural cadence to them. The background on the history of asylums is expertly woven into the story and adds to the richness of the novel. The main character, Brad, a high school student, is real, not just a flat created person, and comes alive in the pages.

As far as negatives, sure, one or two typos, but that's it.

One thing that should be mentioned is that this book is not a light read. It does explore several dark topics and made me uneasy or uncomfortable in several places, which is something I do enjoy in a book. Also, there are a couple of brief violent and sexual scenes, which were tastefully done and truly necessary for the story.

Overall, I was extremely glad I read this book! If I were to write a book, this is exactly the type of book I would love to write -- a book to make people reflect.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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